Community and colleagues mourn death of state lawmaker killed in Cromwell crash

Lawmakers continued to remember Rep. Quentin 'Q' Williams, who died in a wrong-way crash in Cromwell.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 9:04 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2023 at 12:16 PM EST
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut lawmakers are mourning the death of a colleague.

Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams, 39, who served Middletown, has died, according to those who knew him.

State lawmakers confirmed that Williams was one of two people killed in a fiery wrong-way crash in Cromwell around midnight on Thursday. More on that investigation can be read here.

He had been heading back from the governor’s inaugural ball in Hartford.

Gov. Ned Lamont directed flags to half-staff on Thursday, and confirmed Williams’ death was the result of a crash.

“This is devastating news, and I am incredibly saddened by this tragedy,” Lamont said. “Quentin had an infectiously optimistic personality, and he absolutely loved having the opportunity to represent his lifelong home of Middletown at the State Capitol. Public service was his passion, and he was always advocating on behalf of the people of his hometown. He was a genuine person with a genuine soul, and he will be missed. My prayers are with his family, including his wife Carrissa and his mother Queen, as well as his friends and colleagues in the General Assembly.”

The state capitol building was closed on Thursday. All meetings scheduled in it were canceled.

Williams was described as having a great smile and personality. He was liked by both Democrats and Republicans.

He had just been elected to a third term and was given a committee assignment on the Labor Committee.

He lived in Middletown and said he was proud of the city. He had worked there on planning and zoning, and as treasurer.

Former Mayor Dan Drew echoed that.

“He was extraordinarily passionate about Middletown. He was on the planning and zoning commission, he ran the downtown business district, he was city treasurer for many years, he was a state rep and involved in a whole host of non-profits community events, his church,” Drew said “This was someone who cared deeply for his community and everyone in it.”

“I am in shock,” said Speaker of the House Matt Ritter of Hartford. “Q was my dear friend and I am scarred by his sudden loss. We will have time to reflect on Q as a legislator in the weeks to come, but right now I deeply mourn my friend and send all of my love to Carissa, Queen and Q’s family. We will all miss Q.”

Majority leader Jason Rojas, who represents East Hartford and Manchester, called Williams an amazing human being.

“His infectious smile could instantly make a difficult day better. He was an amazing husband, friend and colleague,” Rojas said. “He loved community and serving others. Truly - a friend to all who knew him. This is a terrible tragedy and a great loss to our state. My heart goes out to his wife, family, and all who loved Q. We will miss him.”

“I met Q before he became a state legislator when he was an advocate for a local school in Stamford, and I can only think of one word to describe him—hopeful,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. “Q was always brimming with optimism and possibility. He had a spirit that was relentlessly positive and aspirational. We need his light more than ever, and that’s why it is so hard to lose him. I offer my deepest condolences to his wife and his family and the community that he loved and served.”

“Representative Williams was a young, emerging leader who deftly balanced forward-looking thoughtfulness with passion and charisma in his work at the Capitol and within his community,” said the House Minority Leader.

He was passionate about serving the Middletown community where he lived. He was very involved in his church.

“A beloved young man who accomplished so much in a short time. It’s not how long you live. He served and gave to this community to this state and all over,” said Pastor Moses Harvill with the Cross Street AME Zion Church.

“Q appreciated that and that’s why just recently he changed his name from Q Phips to Q Williams to honor his mom. And as the person who runs the governors counsel on women and girls I always appreciated his enthusiasm for wanting to help women entrepreneurs,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.

He lived in Middletown and was very involved in his community. Before becoming a state representative, he served on planning and zoning and was city treasurer. He was an educator and Middletown Public Schools calls his loss tragic.

He had a smile that many felt was infectious. He was made chair of the Labor Committee and today was supposed to be the first meeting.

“His smile was about 5 feet out in front of him. His laugh probably could be heard in another town, and he was always that person all the time,” said Justin Carbonella, Youth Services Director, Middletown.

Justin knew Q since they were teens. They would volunteer at the local schools and mentor kids.

Now, Justin leads the town youth services and Q was always there.

“There are other ways where we lose people where we have some opportunity to prepare for it... this one wasn’t one of those opportunities,” said Justin.

This morning Justin lost a piece of his heart like so many in town. When Williams wasn’t mentoring, he was cleaning the Playhouse Theatre.

“The smile, the laugh, the positive energy, he was always a really the kind of positive energy you don’t always find in the political world,” said Dic Wheeler, Executive Artistic Director, Odd Fellows Playhouse.

Wheeler says Q belonged to their kids circus. As an adult, he helped fight for funds.

“I think Q lived a little bit with that kind of vision in his life. That anything is possible and don’t look at the walls, look for the doors,” said Dic. “I know there is a period of grief and sadness that is immediate and necessary, but I also know that the real work to honor him and that legacy is to stay in service.”

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said he was with Williams on Wednesday night.

“[Wednesday] night, Q Williams was so full of energy, joy, and passion for his new role and the work ahead,” Bronin said. “Heartbroken by the news this morning.”

“I’m struck with sadness and disbelief,” said Rep. Tammy Nuccio, who serves Tolland, Vernon and Willington. “I saw Q [Wednesday] and the very last thing I said to him was ‘Hey Q! The plates are over there in the back of the room.’ He flashed that amazing smile and said ‘thank you!’ We talked for nearly an hour at the UConn mixer last year about education. My heart is wounded. I wish I’d said more or something else after the direction to the plates. Such a great guy, a great legislator. CT has suffered a loss for sure.”

State Comptroller Sean Scanlon called the news devastating.

“He was a passionate fighter that cared so deeply about policy and helping people,” Scanlon said. “He had the best laugh of anyone I’ve ever met and will be so missed. RIP brother.”

Rep. Melissa Osborne said there was not kinder person in all of politics.

There will be a vigil held for Williams on Friday evening at the South Green in Middletown. It starts at 7 p.m.

Refresh this page and watch Channel 3 for updates.

State lawmakers are remembering Rep. Quentin Williams, who died in a wrong-way crash.
Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams, 39, who served Middletown, has died, according to those who knew him.
Remembering State Rep. Quentin 'Q' Williams
State Rep. Williams killed in crash
State lawmaker killed in wrong-way crash
The State is mourning after learning about the heartbreaking news of Rep. Quentin Williams.